Visiting the DMZ has been on my bucket list since before coming to South Korea, so I was super excited to check this off!
Anyways, we started the day at 6:45am by taking a bus to the 38th parallel (where korea was split post-japanese colonialism and where the korean war began). This spot was eerily calm which caused me to think about the contrast of the present and past - it's crazy how much can change over time.
Tthen, we traveled further north towards the DMZ. I learned from our tour guide that this area, from the 38th parallel to the DMZ, was actually a part of North Korea from 1945-50 which is pretty interesting. We then arrived at the Cheorwon Peace Observatory where we could look through binoculars over to North Korea. It was really cool to see this place that I had only ever heard about with my own eyes. I also found it super interesting to see all of the nature thriving within the DMZ - streams, birds, trees. We then headed over to the old North Korean party headquarters that has since been made into the memorial for the many people who died there. Lastly, we walked up another memorial with a view of White Horse Mountain. The mountain got that name after a battle occurred there where so much debris coated the mountain that it looked white and it apparently looks like a horse laying down from an aerial view.
After that, we got back on the bus and settled in for a long ride back to Seoul. Arriving back at my dorm, I was both exhausted from everything (the traveling, the heat, the early wake-up) and energized by the once-in-a-lifetime experience I had just had.